How to make sure your company is secure when hiring remote workers


Boris Borisov

06 June 2019


Hiring remotely has never been as prominent as it is nowadays. Thanks to the development of technologies, next to any job can be performed from virtually anywhere in the world. As we have discussed previously, this trend opens a whole pool of talent for all companies. It might very well lead to more productivity of the employees and save on costs such as renting out an office space or paying employees’ transportation costs etc. A challenge that some companies face, however, is that of securing sensitive data that they provide for their remote workers. There are a number of solutions, some of which are a matter of creating a set of rules in order for confidential information to be protected. These are going to be the center of discussion in today’s blog.

What are the threats of hiring remote employees?

The disadvantage of hiring remotely is mainly rooted in the protection of data, some of which might be confidential or play an important role in an organization’s future endeavors. Data being stolen or lost can occur because of either a technology failure or simply human error. In a report from Shred-it, it is quoted that:

86 percent of C-level executives believe that the risk of a data breach is higher when employees work remotely

As an employee working remotely, one of the biggest incentives to such employment would certainly be the fact that your job can virtually be done from your favourite coffee shop, from home or even while travelling. It is often the case that a remote employee would make use of their personal laptop while working. This, however, puts the vital data from the company at risk: an employee’s laptop can be affected with malware or a virus, information might accidentally get deleted or misplaced, or the laptop can simply be damaged because of pets or children having access to it.

The other type of danger derives from online security (or rather lack thereof). Using public or unsecure internet connection, especially while transferring data, being a victim of a hacker or simply suffering a device malfunction can all lead to rather severe losses for the employer. With the above mentioned in mind, what can an organisation do in order to protect itself?

Reinforcement of policies for data protection

When all the work computers are in the same office building and there is easy access to an IT department, it is undoubtedly easier to control the flow of data and make sure all devices are secure. Creating a clear set of rules, however, can make remote work more secure as well:

No storing data on removable memory devices

Following the example of IBM, the use of USB’s and SD cards for storing data should be discouraged for remote employees, since it poses the risk of data being lost or stolen. USBs are also notorious for containing malware.

Cloud services

Since using of remote memory devices should be discouraged, try to enforce the use of a good cloud service instead. Not only does it limit the threat of malware, but it also makes the sharing of information easier.

Separate work laptop

If your employees are going to have access to confidential information about the company, it is worth providing them with a company laptop, that has been equipped with an anti-virus system of your choice and that they can use only for work tasks.

Providing and revoking access

Stemming from the previous point, make sure that you give your employees access only to the information they need for completing a certain project and revoke said access when the task is complete. Thus, even if their computer falls in the wrong hands, the damage might be easier to control.

Multi-factor authentication

When it comes to protecting information, password-only protection might not be enough. Consider making use of an app such as Google Authenticator or Authy. What it will do, is provide your employees with one more layer of authentication by generating a code they can use to access their files or e-mails.

Use of public wi-fi

Even in the early stages of the interview process, make sure the person you are getting ready to hire is aware that they need to use their own internet connection, especially when transferring files. That way they will have that in mind and consider what data provider to use if they intend to travel while completing their job-related tasks.

Use of VPN

The use of a VPN allows the user to be anonymous on the internet, which in turn means that their actions online are not visible to hackers. This also will allow the employee to access pages that might be restricted in their region, allowing them more flexibility with where they choose to work from. Some popular VPN services are ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Others, such as PureVPN, offer the additional benefit of data encryption, which allows for maximum security in case of stolen information.

Remote finding of devises and deleting files

Lastly, you should encourage your employees to enable the function of remotely finding their laptop as well as deleting the information from it remotely.

To conclude, even though hiring employees does have its own challenges for a company, by communicating the risks with the people you hire and enforcing a set of rules for security, you will ensure a safer working environment overall.

I hope you are enjoying our content. Send us an email if you have any questions on the topic or if you’d like to share your tips on how to keep remote work secure.

Written by Trayana Milcheva. I am the newest addition to the RemoteMore team. I became interested in remote work during my HR studies and am pleased to have the opportunity to work with such aspiring young entrepreneurs.